An important meeting between President Trump, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer took place on Tuesday, April 30 where they addressed our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Insiders report that it was constructive and focused as they worked together to develop infrastructure legislation valued at approximately $2 trillion, which potentially could include a long-term highway reauthorization bill. Unfortunately, there was no agreement on how the parties expect the bill to be funded.
"The ball is in the president's court to come up with pay-fors," Schumer said after the meeting. "We told him unless he is willing to come up with the pay-fors for this large package, it will never get done."
The RV Industry Association, in conjunction with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, have conducted numerous meetings with key Members of Congress and Committee staff to provide input on infrastructure and recreation-related legislation. An infrastructure package represents an extraordinary bipartisan opportunity to not only rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and airports, but also to improve the beloved natural infrastructure, like campgrounds on federally managed lands. Sadly, many of the roads, trails, marinas, campgrounds and other outdoor structures are worn-out or desperately in need of renovation and expansion. As outdoor recreation and RV camping on our public lands continues to grow in popularity; maintenance, infrastructure and inventory needs have not kept up with demand. Simply put, we have Eisenhower-era recreation infrastructure at a time when RV visitors depend on safe roads and bridges, appealing open spaces, clean public waters, and 21st century amenities.
The benefits of expanding and improving the outdoor recreation economy are clear and compelling. When Americans participate in outdoor recreation, they purchase gear and equipment, food and lodging and contribute $65.3 billion in annual tax revenue to federal coffers. Much of America’s recreation infrastructure on federally managed lands and waters is also associated with revenue streams – fishing and hunting licenses, entrance and activity fees; campground, slip and launch fees; recreation permits and registration fees, and excise and fuel taxes. Additionally, a recent study confirmed that for every dollar Congress invests in the National Park Service, $10 is returned to the U.S. economy, which directly benefits our nation’s rural areas and gateway communities.
As Congress tackles our nation’s infrastructure challenges, outdoor recreation needs to be at the table. The RV Industry Association’s government affairs team will continue to work closely with Congress, the Administration and allied trade associations to provide contemporary and thoughtful solutions for a recreation focused infrastructure package that will improve the health and vibrancy of our federal lands and waters.